Polling began in 73 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh’s western region on Saturday morning in which an estimated 2.6 crore people are expected to cast their votes. In the 2012 Assembly elections in UP, 59.4% voters had exercised their franchise. Interestingly, the number of women voters (60.28%) exceeded this time than the male voters (58.68%). The recent election surveys couldn’t predict a clear winner in the west UP, though most of them projected Akhilesh Yadav as the favourite CM candidate while BJP had a little edge. The polling time in these constituencies at 5:00 pm came to an end. Here’re some sentiments that Uttar Hamara team collected from Agra:
Note Ban – Big Issue in Deciding the Electoral Outcome
Uttar Hamara team found this year ‘Note Ban’ a big political issue in Agra as tourism takes a hit, while clean environment, 24×7 water and power supply are usually the top issues on voters’ mind in Uttar Pradesh’s tourist capital Agra.
As per the Archaeological Survey of India, the sale of tickets to domestic tourists at heritage sites reduced from 5 lakhs in December 2015 to 3 lakhs in December 2016, nearly a month after notes ban. Similarly, the sale of tickets to foreign tourists also dropped significantly in December last year in comparison to the previous year.
It’s not just the footfall at heritage sites, artisans selling stone and marble works in the city were also affected by the move. The handicrafts industry, which has an annual turnover of 500 crores, saw a drop in sales by 25 per cent in November and December last year.
“Our business was affected. Tourists are less, so our sales. The bigger challenger was paying our artisans,” says Prahlad Aggarwal, President of the Agra tourist welfare chamber and also owner of a handicrafts emporium.
The handicrafts industry employs 30,000 artisans in Agra. Like any informal sector in the country, artisans were being paid in cash for their products. After the notes ban, payments in cash were halted.
No chief ministerial candidate may reduce the footfall in favour of BJP
The BJP hasn’t projected the chief ministerial candidate for the UP elections and has built its campaign around PM Modi’s appeal. But the ban of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes may not turn up in favour of Modi, especially in rural UP. A strong showing in UP, country’s most populous state, would strengthen the chances of Samajwadi Party again coming into power. The ruling Samajwadi Party led by 43-year-old kurta-clad CM Akhilesh Yadav, who rebelled against his father and has teamed up with the Congress is showing strong signs of victory.
There are 404 seats in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Polling in western Uttar Pradesh will set the tone for the next six phases of elections to be held in the coming weeks. Uttar Hamara will take you through each and every phase in the poll-bound state. Stay tuned!